My slightly less sucky pomodoro beeminding

I have a love hate relationship with pomodoros. They work great for me but I do dread starting them because doing something you don’t wanna do for 25 minutes can still be intimidating enough that you push it away.
So I started beeminding the number of pomodoros I do per day. The idea sounded simple and appealing enough. But it’s a really bad idea because:

  1. it’s very inflexible. It forces you to to x pomodoros a day irrespective of the goals you actually have to do, the day of the week, etc.
  2. It locks you into the 25/5 format of pomodoros (or whatever you set the goal up with). Going from 25/5 to something else would skew the data you recorded through beeminder. Yes, technically you could do 1/1 pomodoros and could easily do hundreds of those a day but that’s not what you had in mind with the goal. But smaller pomodoros would work a lot better in many cases, be it because the task is too frustrating or because of a attention deficiency or something else. I found in my case 15/5 with me skipping the pauses most of the time to work exceptionally well.

So: Beemind the time spent doing pomodoros? That still suffers from problem 1. Don’t beemind pomodoros at all and just use them as a helpful tool to do your actual goals? That sucks because now you have to juggle two apps at once. One for counting your pomodoros (and my pomodoro app, that is supposedly the best one, sucks and tends to forget the pomodoros I did) and then of course the Beeminder app for tracking the time with the built in stopwatch (which also tends to forget this time, at least on iOS).

But I tried it anyway. On my phone. And it was a mess, because I would forget turning on or off either one of the apps or they would sync wrong or do other shenanigans and it was a tracking nightmare.

So, what did I end up using? Not my phone! But my iPad and its multitasking!

I have it propped up to my left using its smart cover and have set the screen to never turn off. This way I always see the timers.

Underneath the Beeminder app is my webradio app and with a simple flick on the thick bottom bar I can basically Alt+Tab between them and that’s really handy.

Having both apps open at the same time made it very unlikely to forget starting and stopping the timer in one of them and it’s nice to see the “time due” on the left slowly turning into racked up time on the right.

I really wish the Beeminder app had more robust time tracking and some support for pomodoros but I know that’s not gonna happen. But I can dream!

P.S.: This is what it looks like when I flick the Beeminder app to the side to get to my music player:

And I can also quickly move the overlaying app(s) out of the screen and drag them back in later from the side again if I need the room

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I’ve found this exact same thing! I got so much more done at 15/5 than at 25/5, and ended up working through the 5 minute breaks!

25 min can still be intimidating. @narthur posted a link to a list of 100 productivity tips to manage your time, energy, and attention, and one of them I liked was to keep lowering the time interval until it’s manageable and not so overwhelming. If 15 is too much, try 5. If 5 is too much, try 1.


For the record, I did just now forget that, so, yes, unlikely, but not impossible :sweat_smile:
I would really appreciate some level of pomodoro support in the Beeminder app to eliminate this tedious and error prone step.

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Not sure if serious.

What are you envisioning?

Personally, I’ve found it most helpful to use a paper journal to keep track of my pomodoros rather than beemind them.

Or maybe just beemind “do at least one pomodoro for at least one minute” and then let inertia take you the rest of the way. That gets you started and gives you flexibility for days when you’re overloaded, because you can literally just do one minute on those days.

Very serious! I mean… I just pointed out how I still made the mistake of starting the pomodoro but forgot to also start the stopwatch in the Beeminder app.

For starters, I envision that

  1. the bugs in the stopwatch in the iOS app are fixed;
  2. it shows what time is still due so you do not derail;
  3. it offers to start a pomodoro of customisable length and, once finished, adds it to the goal as a datapoint; and
  4. it offers breaks, counting down those like any regular pomodoro app, this time without adding it to the goal as a datapoint.

This is the post of @narthur’s with the link - the tip I referred to was #16: